Business ethics under spotlight

Nicky Willemse

IS IT ethical for companies to use social media like Facebook as a hiring or firing factor? Should businesses be allowed to read their employees’ e-mail?

Are women still being hindered by the glass ceiling in the workplace?

These were just some of the business practices explored by the top 10 teams in a unique competition, sponsored by accounting firm Ernst and Young, for second-year BCom Accounting students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

The winners were announced at a gala evening at the weekend, where cash prizes totalling R37000 were awarded to the top three teams – along with an iPad for best presenter Hilton Samson.

The overall winners, who delved into the ethics of using social media for recruitment purposes, were Chuma Pati, Yanga Mbixana, Wikus Bezuidenhout, Khonaye Dapula, Andrea Ward and Nikky de Ridder.

The teams – each with five or six presenters – were selected from 60 participating groups made up of students attending the Ethics and Corporate Governance 201 module, which aims to introduce students to the fields of business ethics and corporate governance.

“The competition required the students to think critically about complex ethical decisions facing those who manage business entities and made them realise that just because something is legal does not make it ethical,” said Accounting Sciences lecturer Janine Christian, who facilitated the competition.

The judging panel included Ernst and Young partner Mark Biggs, who said the company wanted to get more involved with the university and its students.

Other topics covered by the top groups included social media in the workplace, child labour, discrimination, techno ethics, whistle blowing, animal testing, pornography on television, carbon tax and hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

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